Student Museum Musings: Wrapping Up Summer 2016

Another wonderful summer has passed for the Oshawa Museum, and what a summer it was! Canada Day, the Pokemon phenomenon, tours, oh, and ice cream making! Oshawa Museum staff can’t thank our summer students enough for the hard work and enthusiasm that they bring to our site through the summer months.

To wrap up the summer, we asked our four students to answer five questions about the past months.  Here’s what they had to say:


1. 017Why did you choose to spend your summer at the Oshawa Museum?

This summer was actually my fourth summer here. I have really enjoyed my previous summers working here and wanted to continue not only the learning but growing as well.

2. What surprised you the most this summer?

I found two things surprising this summer; One – How big Pokemon Go became and how a portable game can and did affect our numbers. We did get creative to draw people in and it really worked. And two, having Freemasons take us on tour. We are always the ones giving the tours but it was nice to learn about masons and the work they do from masons. They also were able to provide some more information that we could tell visitors on tour.

3. What part of your summer did you find the most challenging?

The most challenging part would also have to be the Freemasonry exhibit. I had a few people go through who already had their set views on masons and wouldn’t accept anything I was saying. We ended going through the rest of that exhibit rather quickly.


4. What will you miss about the Oshawa Museum?

At the end of each summer I have worked here the one thing I miss is the people and the environment. It really is just a great place to work and I always found myself excited to come in to work every day.

5. What are your plans for September?

My plan for this September is finishing my last year of university. I go to Guelph-Humber for Media Studies and specializing in journalism. It’s strange to think when I first came here I was finishing up high school and now they have seen me grow into a full adult.


13724937_10157109032130335_5114078161389576173_o1. Why did you choose to spend your summer at the Oshawa Museum?

I chose to spend my summer at the Oshawa Museum because it is an all-around great place to be! There are wonderful people I have the opportunity to work with and I get to meet new people every day. The location is picturesque; the calming lake surrounded by flowers and the occasional little critter, I get to wake up to them every morning.

2. What surprised you the most this summer?

The most surprising thing this summer was all of the Pokémon Go hunters who came to the Museum! We were flooded by people catching Pokémon in our buildings; it was a lot of fun for me to learn more about Pokémon through our guests.

3. What part of your summer did you find the most challenging?

There were a couple of challenges this summer, but the most challenging was keeping up with our Victorian Teas while wearing a full Victorian costume, in this summer’s heat. Many days were hot and humid but us summer students prevailed and served tea to all who came! Needless to say, I drank tons of water this summer to keep up with the weather. And the air conditioning helped cool us down too.

4. What will you miss about the Oshawa Museum?

I’m going to miss all of the excitement and adventure that comes with working with the staff and other summer students once  the summer is over. Every day is unexpected at the Lake with all of our ongoing programs and projects. Some days we are busy little beavers in the pond, while other days it’s so quiet you can hear a pin drop. Plus, you never know who will be walking through those Museum doors and what their request might be!

5. What are your plans for September?

The summer is ending and as summer comes to a close, I’m excited for September to get back to school for my 3rd year at Trent University. I have a lot of fun and new courses I can’t wait to start in the fall! I’m also really excited to spend some time with my sister helping her plan for her upcoming wedding in November; this fall is going to be full for my family.


0101. Why did you choose to spend your summer at the Oshawa Museum?

About two years ago now I had completed my Co-op placement at the Museum, mostly working with Melissa. I continued to volunteer when I was able to and so when I was offered the chance to work here this summer I jumped at it. To have the opportunity to work at the Oshawa Museum was amazing opportunity. I had wanted to spend my summer doing something that I wold enjoy doing and so this was the perfect fit to do so, and it has been a completely wonderful summer working here and I’ll miss not having to come in to work here in the fall.

2. What surprised you the most this summer?

The thing that surprised me the most during my time here this summer would have to be the sheer amount of people that came into Guy House and would claim to have lived in Oshawa all their life and had either never come down for a tour, or didn’t even know that the Museum existed. Had I of known it would be such a common occurrence I would have suggested a tally chart just to see how many people actually don’t know that we’re down here. I honestly can’t get over it though, because one would think that with all the advertising and events that are put on and that the museum attends that it would be commonly known to the Oshawa residents.

3. What part of your summer did you find the most challenging?

The one aspect of this job that I found to be the most challenging would have to be when I first started to lead tours on my own. I have always hated public speaking, it’s never been my strong point and if I was able to avoid it in school, you can be sure that I did exactly that. But once I started to tag along on tours and slowly started to get more familiar with the script and began leading tours on my own I started to feel more comfortable speaking and leading the tours than I had initially. And so after a full summer of leading tours in front of so many different groups of people I feel that now I will probably feel more comfortable at speaking publicly when it comes to my academic life as well.

4. What will you miss about the Oshawa Museum?

I will miss absolutely everything about working at the museum. The ladies (and gent) who work at the museum are some of the most amazing people that I have had the pleasure to work with. They love what they’re doing and that makes the environment of the museum all the more lively. And I’ll miss working on cataloguing the Henry House collection. It was absolutely fascinating being able to take a look at all of the artifacts that are not currently on display, being able to see what some of the more unusual artifacts actually are and what some things were used for, or the Oshawa souvenir collection, which had some odd knickknacks.

5. What are your plans for September?

This September I will be going back to Peterborough to attend my second year at Trent University for my four year archaeology programme. I will also be moving into my house that I am renting with five other friends from Trent.


1761 Why did you choose to spend your summer at the Oshawa Museum?

When I was looking for places to do my internship, I knew I wanted to be at a smaller site with a historic house. Oshawa Museum has 3 historic houses, so it was a no-brainer. It’s also in a beautiful location in the park!

2. What surprised you the most this summer?

That there were archaeological digs in Oshawa! I’ve lived in Whitby my whole life and never considered the area to be considered “worthy” of an archaeological dig. The result has allowed people to learn more about Oshawa’s early history.

3. What part of your summer did you find the most challenging?

Learning how to navigate the archives. I have taken some intro courses to archival work, but coming to the museum I was able to learn so much more.

4. What will you miss about the Oshawa Museum?

The people, first and foremost. All the staff are so nice and welcoming it will be difficult not coming in every day. I’ll also miss being in Lakeview Park and seeing the ships come in.

5. What are your plans for September?

I’m moving out to Halifax, Nova Scotia to begin a new adventure! I’ll be looking for jobs in the museum field while enjoying a change of scenery.

The Month That Was – September 1951

All articles are from the Oshawa Daily Times

September 1, 1951

Flying Saucers Back Bring Food This Time
Washington (AP) – Here come the flying saucers again.

The army announced that it’s trying out a new, junior-sized model – about two feet across and weighing five pounds.

There’s nothing scary about them, though, unless one hits you. They’re intended to be filled with water, gasoline or other liquids and dropped from aircrafts to supply troops in the field.

The Quartermaster corps described this new what-is-it as “a disc-shaped container made of synthetic rubber.” When filled, the announcement said, the five-gallon container “looks like an inflated pancake,” with a flat rim running around its outside edge.

These overstuffed pancakes are dropped without benefit of parachute. Tests have shown that the container may be dropped many times without damage.


September 1, 1951

Comin' Round the Mountain Cast- Sept 1 1951.JPG

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, Hollywood’s most popular comedy team, are the laugh targets of a hilarious hillbilly mountain feud in Universal-International’s new comedy hit, “Comin’ Round the Mountain.” Dorothy Shay, the Park Avenue Hillbillie, second from the right, makes her screen debut in the new film co-starring with Bud and Lou. “Comin’ Round the Mountain” also features Kirby Grant, Joe Sawyer, right, and Shave Cogan. Charles Lamont directed and Howard Christie produced.

Opens this Sunday midnight at the Plaza and continues Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

September 8, 1951

Fashion Flashes
to next winter, it would seem that the beaded dress will be increasingly important at gala events. Many late summer evening dresses are of pastel net or tulle, richly beaded  in iridescent sequins, pearls, rhinestones; some for the entire bodice and others n scattered, all-over motifs.

EXTENDING from the stole and sweater of lacy wool knit, some houses are showing handsome one piece dresses that are non-wrinkling and pack like a charm. One model, done in many colors, is in a Venetian lace stitch, and has a deep oval neckline, short sleeves, and wide, side-tied sash. Little wool daises are appliqued here and there all over the dress, and the sash ends are scalloped.

LAVISH trimmings and details bring new beauty to traditional bridal gowns designed for fall weddings, Ivory silk satin for a lovely gown with a very wide, triangular underskirt inset of pleated Chantilly lace two-tone re-embroidered in tiny pearls. Matching lace of the deep bertha yoke edged at throat and hem with tiny crisp horsehair flowers, each pearl centered.

September 8, 1951

British mountain climbing experts are making a new attempt to scale Mount Everest in September. Eric Shipton, leader of the expedition, says the party hops to start their climb by September 20, allowing six weeks for good weather after the Monsoon and before the winter blizzards begin.

Coca Cola Add- Sept 8 1951.JPG


September 15, 1951

Kapuskasing (CP) – A number of the planes engaged in the wide spread search for Toronto Maple Leaf hockey player Bill Barilko and Timmins dentist Dr. Henry Hudson will be withdrawn Sunday. The two men have not been reported since they took off from Rupert’s House on James Bay 20 days ago.

On Sunday three long- range RCAF Lancaster bombers will be retured to their bases where, it was announced, they are needed to meet “training commitments.” They will carry back RCAF personnel and Toronto newspapermen on various pointes to Southern Ontario.

Twenty men under Flt. Lt. “Rusty” Ruston will continue the search of the tree and lake-covered regions of Northern Ontario and Northwestern Quebec. A Dakota aircraft will also be based here for the hunt.

Today the Lancaster’s and four Lands Department Beaver aircrafts, an RCAF Norseman and helicopter will make their final sweep over the district.

*Note: This incident inspired the Tragically Hip song, Fifty Mission Cap

Ottawa to Be Military Capital of Free World

Ottawa Military - Sept 15 1951.JPG

Eyes of the world are focused on Ottawa, Canada’s Capital city, as statesmen and top military men of the 12 Atlantic pact countries gathered for their first conference in Canada. Delegated to NATO, history’s greatest peacetime collective security pact, are conferring on costs of building up defense facilities in Europe. Their decisions might well determine whether a third world war can be prevented. Foreign Minister Paul Van Zeeland, head of Belgium’s NATO delegation and chairman of the NATO conference, is seen inspecting RCAF guard of honor, shortly after his arrival at Ottawa airport. In the background can be seen External Affairs Minister Lester B. Pearson.

September 19 1951

Catch Tram To Gold Rush
Montreal (CP) – Want to go on a prospecting trip for gold? If you live in Montreal, it’ll only cost you tram fare.

Of course, the only good claim is already staked, but it’s fun watching.

It seems the Canadian Copper Refiners Ltd. Have been pouring the stuff into the St. Lawrence River for 20 years and now they are going after it.

When the company processes copper ore, particles of gold and silver, too small a percentage of the whole to be worth recovering at the time of processing, are flushed into the river.

The resultant sludge is dumped by pipe into a cove, protected from river currents. Now, the company has a small dredge dipping samples of the 20-year accumulation of muck to see if there’s enough gold there to make it worthwhile going after.


RCAF Crew Who Will Fly Royal Tour Plane

RCAF Flying on Royal Tour- Sept 19 1951.JPG

Members of RCAF 412 Transport Squadron, from which crewmen have been selected to fly C-5 aircraft carrying Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip on the flying portion of their tour of Canada in October, stand beside the luxury aircraft now undergoing overhaul. Left to right are: Wing-Com Bob Trickett, 36, of Winnipeg, officer commanding the squadron; Sqdn. -Ldr. Stewart Cowan, 31, Winnipeg, pilot; Flt – Lieut. Les Hussey, 28, Ottawa, co-pilot; Flt. – Lieut. Bob Thorndycraft, 32, Vancouver, navigator; Flying Officer Douglas Stonehouse, Toronto, original member of crew who will be on training course during tour and has been replaced by Flt. – Lieut. Ken. A. W, Richmond Hill, Ont.; Flt. – Sergt. Edgar Benoit, 35 Ottawa, Flight engineer; Sergt. Girard Migault, 31, Quebec City, steward; the LAC Walter Dear, 24, Hamilton, air traffic assistant.

September 22, 1951

Royal Plane Readied for Canadian Tour

Royal Plane Interiour- Sept 22, 1951.JPG

Canada’s most luxurious plane, the RCAF Transport Command’s C-5, has been overhauled at Canadair Limited near Montreal in preparation for use by Princess Elizabeth and Duke of Edinburgh during their Canadian tour. Top picture shows the giant Canadair-built skyliner being fuelled prior to a test run at the company’s field. Below is one view of the beautifully appointed lounge, which will provide a home aloft for the Royal couple. During long light trips, the lounge becomes a bed-sitting room, the divans folding down into comfortable beds.

September 22, 1951

Sunday is First Day of Autumn
Every year about this time the editor looks around, spots a reporter who has paused and rested his fingers, and says: “Write a piece about the first day of autumn.”

Back in the dear old golden-rule days on concession 10, school children were taught that autumn arrived at the time of the autumnal equinox – a period characterized mainly by equinoctial gales. The date was usually Sept. 21-22.

There was another equinox, the vernal one, about March 21-22, when spring blew in.

The Canadian Almanac quotes figures compiled by John F. Heard, Ph. D., of the David Dunlap Observatory, University of Toronto, to show that the date this autumn arrives in Sept. 22. The specific time mentioned is 15 hours, 38 minutes, which being interpreted, brings it to 3:36 pm., Eastern Standard Time, or 4:38 p.m., Eastern Daylights Savings Time. At that moment the Almanac says, the sun enters Libra.

So it is, that the autumn, the time of mellow harvest and all that, begins officially tomorrow afternoon. It is too easy to predict what kind of weather will be handed out, but on that date, the savants say, day and night will be of equal length. That is why it is called the equinox.

Student Museum Musings – Digitization Surprises

By Jodie L., Summer Student

As I was working on the Henry House Digitization I came across a decorative bowl that I hadn’t given much thought to other than how heavy the thing actually was. But as I was cropping the photo, I had zoomed in on the picture because something looked slightly off. What I had thought were only rose designs were actually Dragons and roses. I was surprised that this old looking antique decorative bowl that had probably belonged a nice old lady, had these super cool looking dragons on it. This isn’t something that I had expected when I started working on the artifacts in Henry House but it did make it way more interesting as well as really wanting to know the story behind this dragon bowl.


Order of the Eastern Star Ring

By Melissa Cole, Curator

The exhibition Freemasonry: A History Hidden in Plain Sight will be closing soon at the Oshawa Museum so I thought this ring from the OM’s collection would be a great item to highlight since it belonged to the donor’s mother who was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star or (OES) for short.


The OES is a masonic organization that is the sister organization of the Freemasons.  It is the largest fraternal organization to which men and women both belong, although the majority of its members are female.  The stated purposes of the organization are:  Charitable, Educational, Fraternal and Scientific; but there is much more to it than that.  Dr. Rob Morris, a very well-known and active Mason, is credited with founding the Eastern Star.  It is believed that the OES had its roots in France as early as 1703 – a decade before the inception of the first Grand Lodge of London in 1717.  Morris admitted that he borrowed the structure of the organization from the French who introduced the “Androgynous degrees” into America when they came to help out the Americans in their struggles against Great Britain during the American Revolutionary War.  He knew that the ancient landmarks of the order did not permit women from joining the fraternity and thus harbored his ideas for many years without action. It was in 1850 when Morris wrote the initiatory Degrees of the order. He first initiated his wife and daughters and expanded to some neighbor ladies. The signs and modes of recognition given to them, he freely communicated to Masons so that they would be able to recognize the newly initiated women.

In 1868, Morris passed his mantle on to Robert McCoy, a fellow mason, to carry on and expand the work of the Eastern Star.  He wrote the rituals of the order as they exist today.  These degrees centred on the lives of five biblical heroines which are represented on this ring.

In order to be a member of the OES you must be 18 years of age, believe in a supreme being and be related to a male Freemason through one of the following ways:

  • Affiliated Master Masons in good standing
  • the wives
  • daughters
  • legally adopted daughters
  • mothers
  • widows
  • sisters
  • half sisters
  • granddaughters
  • stepmothers
  • stepdaughters
  • stepsisters
  • daughters-in-law
  • grandmothers
  • great granddaughters
  • nieces
  • mothers-in-law
  • sisters-in-law


Eastern Star.jpg

This 5 pointed, inverted star represented on this ring reflects the five points of the Order of the Eastern Star which are female biblical figures that are associated with a color, a cardinal feminine virtue and, in some cases, a season of the year.

Lets take a closer look at each of the points represented on this inverted star which is featured on this ring.

OES Ring.jpg

The first point is Adah, Jephtah’s daughter from the Book of Judges. She is associated with the youth of spring and the color blue. Her cardinal virtue is respect for the binding power of a vow.  She is symbolized by a sword and shield symbolizing how she sacrificed her life to save her father’s honor.

The second point of the Order of the Eastern Star is Ruth, the widow from the Book of Ruth. She is associated with the abundance (symbolized through the sheaf of barley) and growth of summer and the color yellow. Ruth’s cardinal virtue is piety.

The third point is Esther, the wife from the Book of Esther. Esther is associated with the color white but does not represent a season. She is symbolized through a crown and scepter.  Esther’s cardinal virtue is fidelity to family and friends.

The fourth point of the Order of the Eastern Star is Martha, sister of Mary and Lazarus in the Gospel of John. Martha is associated with the end of life (symbolized through the broken column), winter and the color green. Martha’s cardinal virtue is undeviating faith through hardship.

The fifth point is Electa, the mother and the elect lady from the Second Epistle of John. She is associated with the full maturity of life, autumn and the color red. Electa’s cardinal virtue is patience.  This is symbolized through the cup representing charity.

Inside the center of the star is a pentagram (5-sided figure) with an altar as the logo’s focal point.   The open book upon the altar signifies obedience to God’s word.

Local Eastern Star chapters select their own charities and places of service in their own communities. Each year special charities are selected for that year’s emphasis and might include volunteer programs in elementary schools or volunteers in literacy programs and specific community outreach.  To learn more about OES visit

Freemasonry: A History Hidden in Plain Sight will be on display at the Oshawa Museum until August 31, 2016.  This exhibit is travelling from the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre.

Freemasonry Poster

Pokémon have taken over the museum!

By Laura G., MMC Intern

Pests are a common problem in museums and they can cause a lot of damage to the museum buildings and the collection. If Pokémon were real life pests, these are the damages they could inflict on the museum!

Insects can cause the most damage as they are small but have big appetites! Weedles, Caterpies, and Butterfrees can eat through materials such as textiles. This would have a devastating effect on any quilts, clothing, or linens.  When these pests are present there will be tiny holes in the affected textiles. Insects like Beedrills can also cause damage to the wood within a building by barreling through it. This type of destruction can make the structure of the building weaker. Venonats and Venomoths can cause devastation to textiles as well because they will chew through them. Kakuna and Metapod can also leave casings within a collection, while these are not necessarily damaging, they are a sign of insects which is never good. Insects are small and they can go unnoticed in a collection until one day a quilt is unrolled and there are holes, casings, or other damage. By then it could be too late.

13770463_10157135033250335_4202867877058842541_n (1)
Where’s the CCI Note for Venonats in historic houses?

Rattata and mouse-like Pokémon, like Pikachu, have very good senses of smell and taste. They also have ways of easily gaining entry to the building if they were to smell something that they wanted! They chew through organic material like leather and glues. Many objects in the collection are made from organic materials (especially hair wreaths) so it is important to prevent Pokémon like these from getting into the building.


Zubats can live in collection areas because they are dark during the day when bats are asleep. Collection areas are usually kept very cool to protect the objects. This sort of environment would be perfect for a Zubat to nest. The Zubat’s droppings could cause damage to a object if it were to land on one, because Zubats fly around their droppings can affect more objects.

Pokémon can cause damage and destruction to a museum collection so it’s important to keep them in their pokeballs! It is always best to prevent an infestation before it happens, so you gotta catch ‘em all!

If this Weedle made it inside Henry House, it could be disastrous.